Best End of the World Movies On HBO Max to watch [October 2023]

The end of the world has long been a popular theme in movies, with filmmakers exploring different scenarios and outcomes of the apocalypse. From natural disasters to nuclear war to viral outbreaks, the possibilities are endless. And with the rise of streaming services like HBO Max, there are now more options than ever for fans of the genre. In this blog, we’ll take a look at the end of the world movies on HBO Max, featuring gripping stories, stunning visuals, and unforgettable performances.

Following its inception at the height of German expressionism, post-apocalyptic filmmaking fully blossomed during the Cold War period, when fears of a nuclear holocaust were at an all-time high. Filmmakers have been driven to innovative methods of foreshadowing the collapse of civilization as the climate crisis gained prominence. It didn’t take long for them to figure out that spectacle sells more than anything and that the impending end of the world gave them the perfect excuse to make a few more blockbuster films before calling it quits. If the original meaning of “apocalypse” is “revelation,” then the movie we’ve selected here reveals a terrifying future for humanity. Check out our guide on how to watch HBO Max and binge-watch all of them!

Why These Titles Were Selected As the Top End Of The World Movies On HBO Max:

Reelsgood picked out these movies and shows to make your watching experience better. We used IMDb Ratings to help us choose and arranged them neatly. People who watch and experts both liked these a lot, so we’re sure you’ll enjoy them and find them worth your time.

1. Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

Blade Runner 2049 2017
Director:Denis Villeneuve
Writers: Hampton Fancher, Michael Green, Philip K.
Stars: Harrison Ford, Ryan Gosling, Ana de Armas
Genre: Action, Drama and Mystery 

Blade Runner 2049, directed by Denis Villeneuve, continues Ridley Scott’s innovative vision for a bleak future in the science fiction genre. Officer K of the Los Angeles Police Department is entrusted with decommissioning replicants, and his history comes back to haunt him. The clouds are gathering, and to fulfill his destiny, he must search for a legendary blade runner who has been lost for over three decades.

The iconic Harrison Ford returns as Rick Deckard in this sequel based on the book Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick. Also returning are Ryan Gosling and Ana de Armas.

Here’s a film to add to your viewing queue if you like scenes in a dystopian future.

2. The Matrix (1999)

the matrix
Director:Lana Wachowski Lilly Wachowsk
Writers: Lana Wachowski Lilly Wachowsk
Stars: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi

“The Matrix,” released in 1999 and directed by the Wachowskis, is a groundbreaking science fiction film that blends action, philosophy, and cyberpunk elements. The story follows Thomas Anderson, a computer programmer known as Neo, who discovers that the world he inhabits is a simulated reality created by sentient machines to subdue humanity. Neo joins a group of rebels led by Morpheus and Trinity, who believe he is the prophesied savior capable of freeing humanity from the virtual prison known as the Matrix. The film’s innovative visual effects, including bullet-dodging sequences and the iconic “bullet time,” garnered widespread acclaim. Beyond its action-packed surface, “The Matrix” delves into existential and philosophical themes, questioning the nature of reality and the control exerted by technology.

“The Matrix” not only became a cultural phenomenon but also left a lasting impact on the sci-fi genre. Keanu Reeves’ portrayal of Neo, the film’s iconic special effects, and its thought-provoking narrative contributed to its critical and commercial success, leading to two sequels, “The Matrix Reloaded” and “The Matrix Revolutions,” and inspiring a franchise that has left an enduring legacy in popular culture.

You are able to watch “The Matrix” streaming on Peacock Premium.

3. Oblivion (2013)

Oblivion 2013
Director:Joseph Kosinski
Writers: Karl Gajdusek, Michael Arndt, Joseph Kosinski
Stars: Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Andrea Riseborough
Genre: Action, Adventure, and Sci-Fi

“Oblivion,” released in 2013 and directed by Joseph Kosinski, is a visually stunning science fiction film set in a post-apocalyptic Earth. Tom Cruise stars as Jack Harper, a drone repairman stationed on the desolate planet after a devastating war with an alien race known as the Scavs. Tasked with extracting vital resources, Harper discovers a crashed spacecraft that alters his understanding of the world and his own identity. As he unravels the mysteries surrounding the war and his existence, Jack becomes entangled in a complex web of deception, leading to a gripping and visually spectacular exploration of truth and humanity’s resilience.

The film’s breathtaking cinematography, sleek design, and a captivating score contribute to its immersive atmosphere. “Oblivion” received praise for its unique take on familiar sci-fi themes, combining elements of mystery and action to create a compelling narrative. While opinions on the story’s complexity may vary, the film is widely acknowledged for its stunning visuals and Cruise’s committed performance, making it a noteworthy entry in the science fiction genre.

Impressive visual effects. If you’re planning on seeing a bunch of movies like that, “Mad Max: Fury Road” should be at the top of your queue.

4. Equilibrium (2002)

Equilibrium 2002
Director: Kurt Wimmer
Writers: Kurt Wimmer
Stars: Christian BaleSean BeanEmily Watson
Genre: Action, Drama and Sci-Fi

“Equilibrium,” a dystopian science fiction film released in 2002 and directed by Kurt Wimmer, is set in a future society where emotions are suppressed to maintain peace and eliminate conflict. Christian Bale stars as John Preston, a high-ranking government enforcer tasked with hunting down and eliminating “sense offenders” who resist the mandated emotional suppression. However, when Preston misses a dose of the emotion-inhibiting drug, he begins to experience feelings and starts questioning the oppressive regime he once served. As he grapples with newfound emotions, Preston becomes a symbol of resistance against the authoritarian state, leading to a compelling exploration of individuality, free will, and the human capacity for emotion.

“Equilibrium” is known for its stylized action sequences, martial arts choreography, and its thematic exploration of the consequences of a society that sacrifices individuality for the sake of order. While the film received mixed reviews upon release, it has gained a cult following over the years for its thought-provoking premise and Christian Bale’s intense performance.

You are able to watch “Equilibrium” streaming on Starz Apple TV Channel, Hoopla or for free with ads on Pluto TV.

5. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

Terminator 2 Judgment Day 1991
Director:James Cameron
Writers: James Cameron, William Wisher
Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi

“Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” released in 1991 and directed by James Cameron, is a landmark science fiction action film and a sequel to the 1984 hit “The Terminator.” The film stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Terminator, a cyborg assassin, but this time, he is reprogrammed to protect rather than terminate. Linda Hamilton reprises her role as Sarah Connor, and a young Edward Furlong plays her son, John Connor, who is the target of a more advanced and deadly Terminator, the T-1000, portrayed by Robert Patrick.

Set in a dystopian future, the film explores themes of artificial intelligence, fate, and the consequences of technology. The T-1000 is a shape-shifting liquid metal terminator with the ability to mimic any form, making it a formidable adversary. The movie is renowned for its groundbreaking visual effects, including the innovative use of computer-generated imagery (CGI) in creating the T-1000’s morphing abilities. “Terminator 2” was a massive critical and commercial success, setting a new standard for action films and solidifying Arnold Schwarzenegger’s status as an action movie icon. The film’s gripping narrative, memorable characters, and groundbreaking special effects have contributed to its enduring legacy in the science fiction genre.

6. Mad Max 2 (1981)

Mad Max2
Director:George Miller
Writers: Terry Hayes, George Miller, Brian Hannant
Stars: Mel Gibson, Bruce Spence, Michael Preston
Genre: Action, Adventure, and Sci-Fi

“Mad Max 2,” also known as “The Road Warrior,” is a post-apocalyptic action film released in 1981 and directed by George Miller. It is the second installment in the Mad Max film series, following the original “Mad Max” released in 1979. The film stars Mel Gibson as Max Rockatansky, a lone drifter in a world ravaged by societal collapse and resource scarcity due to a global energy crisis.

Set in a bleak desert wasteland, Max becomes involved in a conflict between a group of survivors and a gang of marauders led by the ruthless Lord Humungus. The survivors, who possess a valuable fuel refinery, seek Max’s help to defend their compound against the marauders in a high-octane battle for survival. “Mad Max 2” is known for its intense and visceral vehicular action sequences, featuring customized, weaponized vehicles in a chaotic and lawless world. The film’s dystopian setting, practical effects, and Gibson’s charismatic performance contributed to its critical acclaim and solidified its reputation as a cult classic. “Mad Max 2” is often praised for its innovative approach to action filmmaking and its influence on the post-apocalyptic genre.

You are able to watch “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” streaming on fuboTV, Paramount Plus, Showtime.

7. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

Mad Max
Director:George Miller
Writers: George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, Nick Lathouris
Stars: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult
Genre: Action, Adventure, and Sci-Fi

“Mad Max: Fury Road” (2015) is a tour de force in post-apocalyptic cinema, directed by George Miller. Set against a desolate desert backdrop, Tom Hardy takes on the iconic role of Max Rockatansky, joining forces with Charlize Theron’s Imperator Furiosa in a high-speed chase to liberate a group of oppressed women from the clutches of the tyrannical warlord Immortan Joe. The film received universal acclaim for its relentless action, groundbreaking practical effects, and feminist undertones, earning six Academy Awards and establishing itself as a modern classic in the action genre. “Mad Max: Fury Road” stands as a testament to George Miller’s visionary filmmaking and remains a benchmark for the fusion of exhilarating action and storytelling in contemporary cinema.

You are able to watch “Mad Max: Fury Road” streaming on Hulu.

8. The Book of Eli (2010)

The Book of Eli 2010
Director:George Miller
Writers: Gary Whitta
Stars: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult
Genre: Action, Adventure

“The Book of Eli,” a post-apocalyptic action film released in 2010 and directed by the Hughes Brothers, stars Denzel Washington as Eli, a lone wanderer in a desolate world ravaged by war and disaster. Eli possesses a sacred book that he believes holds the key to saving humanity. As he travels through the dangerous landscape, he encounters various characters, including Carnegie (Gary Oldman), a ruthless warlord who seeks the book for his own purposes. The film unfolds as a journey of survival, faith, and the power of knowledge, with Eli determined to protect the precious book at all costs.

The narrative of “The Book of Eli” is marked by its atmospheric cinematography, intense action sequences, and Washington’s compelling performance. The revelation about the nature of the sacred book adds a layer of depth to the storyline. The film explores themes of faith, morality, and the impact of knowledge on a post-apocalyptic society, making it a thought-provoking addition to the genre.

9. I Am Legend (2007)

i am legend
Director:Francis Lawrence
Writers: Mark Protosevich, Akiva Goldsman, Richard Matheson
Stars: Will Smith, Alice Braga, Dash Mihok, and Charlie Tahan
Genre: Sci-fi, Horror

“I Am Legend” (2007), directed by Francis Lawrence and starring Will Smith, is a post-apocalyptic science fiction film based on Richard Matheson’s novel of the same name. The story is set in a world where a genetically engineered virus has wiped out most of humanity, turning survivors into nocturnal, aggressive mutants. Will Smith’s character, Robert Neville, is seemingly the last human in New York City and spends his days searching for a cure while fending off the mutated creatures. The film explores themes of isolation, survival, and the consequences of human experimentation, leading to a gripping and emotionally charged narrative.

“I Am Legend” received praise for Will Smith’s compelling performance, the atmospheric depiction of a deserted New York City, and intense action sequences. The film’s portrayal of loneliness and the impact of a global pandemic resonated with audiences, making it a notable entry in the post-apocalyptic genre. The film’s twist ending has sparked discussions about its implications, contributing to its enduring popularity.

You are able to watch “War of the Worlds” streaming on Paramount Plus on Computer in UK, DIRECTV.

10. War Of The Worlds (2005)

War of the Worlds
Director:Steven Spielberg
Writers: Josh Friedman, David Koepp
Stars: Tom Cruise, Dakota Fanning, Tim Robbins
Genre: Adventure, Sci-Fi, Thriller

“War of the Worlds” (2005), directed by Steven Spielberg and loosely based on H.G. Wells’ classic novel, is a gripping science fiction thriller. The film follows Ray Ferrier, played by Tom Cruise, as he navigates a sudden and devastating alien invasion. Massive tripods emerge from beneath the Earth’s surface, unleashing destructive forces and causing chaos. As Ray attempts to protect his children and survive in the face of overwhelming odds, the film explores themes of survival, family bonds, and the resilience of the human spirit against an extraterrestrial threat.

Spielberg’s “War of the Worlds” is known for its intense and realistic depiction of the alien invasion, with groundbreaking visual effects that capture the scale and terror of the conflict. The film skillfully combines thrilling action sequences with poignant human drama, and Tom Cruise’s performance adds emotional depth to the narrative. The movie received positive reviews for its suspenseful storytelling and impressive visuals, becoming a memorable entry in the alien invasion subgenre.

You are able to watch “War of the Worlds” streaming on Paramount Plus, DIRECTV.

11. 12 Monkeys (1995)

12 Monkeys 1995
Director:Terry Gilliam
Writers: Chris Marker, David Webb Peoples
Stars: Bruce Willis, Madeleine Stowe, Brad Pitt
Genre: Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller

“12 Monkeys” (1995), directed by Terry Gilliam, is a mind-bending science fiction film that weaves a complex narrative involving time travel, a dystopian future, and the potential end of humanity. The story follows James Cole, played by Bruce Willis, a convict from a post-apocalyptic future sent back in time to gather information about a virus that wiped out most of the world’s population. However, the nature of time travel and the reliability of Cole’s sanity come into question as he encounters a group called the Army of the Twelve Monkeys and a mysterious mental patient, played by Brad Pitt. The film is a thought-provoking exploration of fate, free will, and the consequences of human actions.

“12 Monkeys” received critical acclaim for its intricate and layered storytelling, Gilliam’s unique visual style, and the standout performances of its cast, particularly Pitt, who earned an Academy Award nomination for his role. The film’s nonlinear narrative keeps audiences guessing until the end, and its exploration of time travel and causality has made it a cult classic in the science fiction genre.

You are able to watch “Twelve Monkeys” streaming on Starz Apple TV Channel, Starz Roku Premium Channel, Starz, Starz Amazon Channel.

12. Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)

Godzilla king of the Monster
Director:Michael Dougherty
Writers: Michael Dougherty, Zach Shields
Stars: Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy

“Godzilla: King of the Monsters” (2019), directed by Michael Dougherty, is a colossal monster film and the sequel to the 2014 “Godzilla” installment. The movie revolves around the emergence of ancient super-species, including the iconic Godzilla, as they vie for supremacy. The narrative follows the crypto-zoological agency Monarch as they try to prevent these colossal creatures, including Godzilla and formidable adversaries like King Ghidorah and Rodan, from wreaking havoc and threatening humanity’s existence. The film is celebrated for its epic-scale monster battles, stunning visual effects, and nods to classic Japanese kaiju cinema, offering an exhilarating experience for fans of the genre.

“Godzilla: King of the Monsters” not only delivers on the spectacle of giant monster showdowns but also explores themes of environmentalism and humanity’s place in the natural order. The film features a star-studded cast, including Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, and Millie Bobby Brown, and is part of Legendary Entertainment’s Monsterverse, connecting with other iconic creatures like King Kong. While opinions vary on the human characters and plot, the film’s emphasis on giant monster action and its contribution to building a shared cinematic universe have garnered attention from fans of the long-running Godzilla franchise.

13. Planet of the Apes (2001)

Planet of the Apes 2001
Director:Tim Burton
Writers: Pierre Boulle, William Broyles Jr.
Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Helena Bonham Carter, Tim Roth
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

“Planet of the Apes” (2001), directed by Tim Burton, is a reimagining of the classic 1968 film of the same name. Starring Mark Wahlberg as Captain Leo Davidson, the story follows a space explorer who crash-lands on a mysterious planet ruled by intelligent apes. The apes have a complex society where humans are treated as an inferior species, leading Davidson to join a human resistance against their simian oppressors. The film explores themes of power, prejudice, and societal hierarchy in a world turned upside down, ultimately revealing surprising connections to Earth’s own history.

While Tim Burton’s take on “Planet of the Apes” received mixed reviews, with criticism directed at its convoluted plot and deviations from the original, it remains notable for its imaginative design and makeup effects, which brought the ape characters to life. The film’s twist ending diverges from the source material and the earlier film series, providing a fresh interpretation of the classic story. Despite its reception, “Planet of the Apes” contributed to the ongoing legacy of the franchise and paved the way for subsequent adaptations in the years that followed.

14. The Animatrix (2003)

The Animatrix 2003
Director:Peter Chung, Andrew R. Jones
Writers: Lilly Wachowski, Lana Wachowski
Stars: Kevin Michael Richardson, Pamela Adlon, John DiMaggio
Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure 

“The Animatrix” (2003) is an animated anthology film that serves as a companion to the “Matrix” film series. Comprising nine short films directed by various anime directors, “The Animatrix” delves into the rich lore and backstory of the “Matrix” universe. Each segment presents a unique visual style and narrative perspective, exploring different aspects of the world, including the rise of the machines, the war between humans and machines, and the experiences of individuals within the simulated reality. The collection of animated shorts adds depth and context to the overarching narrative of the “Matrix” trilogy, offering fans a visually stunning and intellectually engaging exploration of the dystopian world created by the Wachowskis.

Released between “The Matrix Reloaded” and “The Matrix Revolutions,” “The Animatrix” is lauded for its creativity, expanding the mythology of the franchise beyond the main films. It provides fans with a deeper understanding of the events that shaped the universe, making it a noteworthy addition for those seeking a more comprehensive view of the “Matrix” story.

15. Signs (2002)

Signs 2002
Signs 2002
Director:M. Night Shyamalan
Writers: M. Night Shyamalan
Stars: Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, Rory Culkin
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi

“Signs” (2002), directed by M. Night Shyamalan, is a sci-fi thriller that explores the mysterious and unsettling events surrounding crop circles appearing on a rural farm. Mel Gibson plays Graham Hess, a former reverend who discovers strange patterns in his cornfields, leading to an increasing sense of unease and paranoia. As the phenomenon escalates globally, the film blends elements of science fiction with a focus on the family dynamics and personal faith of the characters. Shyamalan’s signature storytelling style, coupled with strong performances, especially by Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix, contributes to the film’s suspenseful atmosphere and unexpected twists, creating a thought-provoking exploration of extraterrestrial themes and the human condition.

“Signs” received both praise and criticism for its unique approach to the alien invasion genre, with some appreciating its tension and emotional depth, while others scrutinized certain plot elements. Nevertheless, the film’s ability to generate suspense and deliver a memorable twist ending has made it a noteworthy entry in the director’s filmography and a topic of discussion among fans of science fiction and psychological thrillers.

Wrap Up!

The way the end of the world movie genre tackles the human character in severe conditions is what makes it so appealing. As humans confront unfathomable decisions and attempt to live in a crumbling society, these films frequently portray the best and worst of humanity. They also allow us to reflect on our own death as well as the fragility of our world.

HBO Max has a broad and exciting selection of End of the world movies on HBO Max. There’s something for everyone, from high-octane action films like Mad Max: Fury Road to introspective dramas. HBO Max offers something for everyone, whether you like horror, suspense, or character-driven narrative.

Apart from apocalyptic movies, you can also explore other genres including the best action movies and romantic films on HBO Max. So Grab some popcorn, sit back, and prepare to see the end of the world in all its cinematic splendour.

Anoosha Khan
Anoosha Khan

Anoosha Khan is a film critic and entertainment editor based in the UK. She has been reporting about celebs and movies for WatchinUK for the past year.

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